To the Good Government Councils and Support Bases of the EZLN
To the Indigenous Governing Council
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion
To the national and international human rights organizations
To the free, independent, autonomous media
To the peoples of Mexico and the world
Organizations, collectives and individuals, all adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, have carried out Solidarity Caravans with the Zapatista Communities since the month of October. In these caravans we have worked in the accompaniment and observation of human rights of boys, girls, women and men Support Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN) in the community of Nuevo San Gregorio (NSG), we have documented the presence and the damages that an invading group is causing to the recovered lands located in this community, as well as the constant harassment of Zapatista families.
During these events, which we will elaborate on below, we have witnessed that the three levels of government have not intervened to stop the aggressions, dispossession, and provocations of the group of invaders towards the BAEZLN. We were able to observe the complicity that this group of invaders has with the three levels of government to dispossess the BAEZLN of their territory and control natural resources, as well as the strategy of opening the way for individualized government projects, such as “Sembrando Vida” (among other programs), which attack the process of autonomy and attempt to break with community organizational forms.
In the face of the harassment by the invaders, and in order to resist the provocations, the Zapatista families have left their homes and have concentrated in the center of the community, abandoning their belongings and in some cases, their animals (some of them have already died due to the forced abandonment). The work of planting corn and beans that the BAEZLN had planned from February 1 to 4 did not take place.
This threatens the nutrition and health of the families for the coming months. This means a direct attempt against the life of the Support Bases, for a short-term security perspective.
Some part of this group of invaders comes from the ejidos San Gregorio de Las Casas, Duraznal, Rancho Alegre and San Andrés Puerto Rico, some of them with positions in the ejido and the church. We wonder what people from other communities are doing in BAEZLN territory, who brought them here and for what purpose.
Here we present the list of events that occurred between February 1 and 9, documented by the Caravan of Solidarity:
1.- For a year and three months, the group of invaders has surrounded 145 hectares of the 155 hectares of reclaimed land with barbed wire and wooden posts. They have taken possession of the so-called “Casa Grande” (former hacienda) which is on the land of the Autonomous High School. The Bases of Support note “We decided to save it because it was the result of the work of our grandmothers and grandfathers who were laborers on the farm.” As part of the collective work, money and labor have been invested in fixing it up. Between February 1st and 9th it was being used as an encampment by the invaders, who have been cutting behind the Casa Grande with chainsaws and have been using it to monitor the activities of the BAEZLN from there with binoculars, cell phones and radios.
2. As of February 1st, the invaders set up 5 guard positions (2 of them only 50 meters from the center of the community, 3 of them 250 meters away), carrying machetes, knives, knives, slingshots, pointed batons, cell phones, communication radios and binoculars. Among them are Felipe Henriquez Gómez from Rancho Alegre; Nicolás Pérez Pérez Pérez from San Gregorio Las Casas; Esteban Miguel Moshan, Manuel Moshan Moshan, Javier Gómez Mendez, Miguel Bolom Ara (former municipal police of Huixtán), Mario Bolom Ara, Alejando Pérez Pérez Pérez, Alonso Ara Moshan, Sebastián Ara Moshan and Pedro Pérez Pérez Pérez (nephew of one of the leaders of ORCAO).
3.- Within the community several collective works are being developed, which allow the diversification of food, as well as the prevention and cure of diseases. The group of invaders has prevented these activities from going forward. The BAEZLNs have a collective tilapia pond for community food and a space where children gather to play. The invaders disconnected several sections of the pipeline that supplies water to the pond, killing the fish, as people in charge of feeding them were unable to go to the site between February 1 and 6 due to the presence of the invaders.
The students of the Autonomous High School had a collective work of beehives, located behind the Casa Grande, but also due to the presence of the invaders and not being able to take care of them, they are no longer there.
The Bases de Apoyo reported some of the damage caused by the invaders: “Nicolás Pérez Pérez burned the dry brush of a work site that they usually use as fertilizer. The fire got out of control and almost burned some sheep that we keep collectively. There is watercress planted around the pond, that the invaders cut down. ” We have a cattle collective, we have to go and look after them up to three times a day to move them, to feed them, to give them water and salt.” The invaders moved several cattle, which have suffered with the moving of the tractors and the presence of so many people. The compañeras have had to take care of the cattle and sheep, because the compañeros cannot leave their guards for fear of being attacked. When they go to take care of the animals, the invaders watch them, play with machetes to intimidate them and shine spotlights on them.
Education, as one of pillars of Zapatista autonomy, has also been affected by the invaders. “January 18 was the date for the start of classes at the Autonomous Secondary School, but classes have not been able to begin since the invaders have continued to use the Casa Grande and the students have to pass too close to the invading group to get to school.
The invasion of the reclaimed land has also affected the water and electricity supply: “Garbage accumulated in the water catchment and little water was coming in, because of the proximity to the invaders it has not been possible to clean it. They have a water storage tank from which they pump water to the community center and Casa Grande intakes. Normally they pump water every 3 days. On this occasion, due to the presence of the invading group on the land near the tank, they had to wait 5 days to pump the water. The compañeras are the ones who have gone to pump the water and they are afraid because there are invaders watching them.” There is a light transformer in the community, but there is a risk that it could fall down during the rainy season, and it has not been possible to repair it because it is on the land surrounded by the invaders.
Between February 1st and 9th the group of invaders hired 2 tractors to plow the land. At the moment they have affected 12.5 hectares, at an estimated cost of 23,000 pesos for the rental of the tractors and 2300 pesos per hectare plowed, plus an estimated 6,000 pesos for 320 liters of diesel purchased. Pedro López, ejidal commissioner of Los Llanos, is in charge of the tractors.Between 8 and 12 invaders stand guard, while the tractors are working. The hoses that provide water to the collective livestock as well as the fish pond have been disconnected. They burn the land, in some cases where sheep are tied up for grazing. In some of the lands where the tractor has entered, there were collective works of vegetables and medicinal plants. The tractor not only damaged part of the hoses, but also destroyed the road that leads to the collective vegetable garden; several pointed sticks were left there, which has been interpreted as a provocation.
This whole series of events is not minor. As we mentioned earlier, they are part of a strategy to dispossess our Zapatista compañeros and compañeras of their reclaimed lands; it is also a strategy of attrition and an attempt to break processes of autonomy. This invasion has caused innumerable damages to the Support Bases of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation: displacement of families, dispossession of land and territory, destruction of collective works, impeding access to the right to education and health, the cornerstones of Zapatista autonomy. In the words of the BAEZLN: “The invaders have no interest in cultivating the land, they have money, cars, cattle and rights in their ejidos. If they really needed to, they would come to work together, but they don’t want to. The land is to struggle for, not for doing business.
As a Caravan of Solidarity, we reiterate that we will not stop accompanying our Zapatista compañeros and compañeras, we will not stop denouncing the complicity of the three levels of government, which is part of a counterinsurgency strategy to stop the struggle of the EZLN. It has become clear that the change promised from the beginning by this government, the so-called Fourth Transformation, has not happened. On the contrary, under cover of the legitimacy of votes, it has continued with the death projects of the previous governments. But despite its policy of death we will continue to fight for life, here “below and to the left”; we will continue to defend Mother Nature, the land and the territory; we will continue to fight for a more just world “where many worlds fit”.
Our work has been peaceful and with the objective of asserting the human rights and self-determination of the peoples and we have been accompanied by the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba). This accompaniment takes place in person and at a distance with the objective of carrying out an integral and continuous work.
Signatory organizations and collectives.
Centro de Derechos de la Mujer Chiapas, A.C. (CDMCH)
Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C. (DESMI)
Desarrollo Tecnológico y Servicios Comunitarios El Puente, S.C.
Enlace Civil, A.C.
Espacio de Lucha Contra el Olvido y la Represión (ELCOR)
Grupo de trabajo No Estamxs Todxs
Médicos del Mundo, Suiza-México
Promedios de Comunicación Comunitaria A.C.
Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq
Salud y Desarrollo Comunitario, A.C. (SADEC)
Colectivo Anarcista El Pueblo
And other collectives, organizations, and individual adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.
This communiqué from the Solidarity Caravan was published by the Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Ajmaq on February 11, 2020. https://redajmaq.espora.org/denuncia20210211 This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas.